There are several advantages to using an independent doctor, including freedom of speech, greater flexibility, personalized care, and potentially lower costs.
What Is an Independent Doctor?
An independent doctor is a medical professional who operates their own private practice, rather than being an employee of a large hospital or managed care system. Independent doctors are self-employed independent contractors or small business owners. They therefore have more control over their schedules, fees, and treatment plans.
They are also likely to have more liberty to give frank medical advice to their patients, unbiased by bureaucratic or government mandates, or by “gag” orders placed on them by large healthcare corporations and insurance companies.
Healthcare Freedom and Privacy
One significant advantage of using an independent doctor is the freedom of speech that they offer. Independent doctors have more freedom to share information without fear of censorship or discipline by large healthcare organizations.
Doctors at large health care organizations are under constant scrutiny by health care bureaucrats. Their prescriptions and treatment plans are regularly reviewed by higher-ups at the hospital or managed care organization. There have been many cases where doctors have been disciplined or fired because of their care recommendations – particularly during the COVID epidemic.
For example, in September 2021, the Oregon Medical Board suspended the license of a doctor who had been prescribing ivermectin for COVID-19 patients, In another case, a doctor in Texas was fired from his job at a hospital after prescribing ivermectin for COVID-19 patients without the hospital’s approval.
More recently, doctors’ freedom of speech has come under increasing assault. The state of California recently passed a law essentially placing a gag order on doctors, preventing them from freely sharing their medical views and treatment recommendations with their patients. The law has been blocked by a judge, pending the results of two lawsuits by doctors’ groups challenging the law on First Amendment grounds.
But the “chilling effect” of this law and other disciplinary actions and firings on the advice doctors have given to patients in recent years is incalculable.
Less Conflict of Interest
Doctors at large managed care organizations have a built-in conflict of interest. They are under constant pressure not to recommend expensive courses of treatment that could jeopardize the organization’s relationship with the insurance company.
In contrast, an independent doctor has a much wider referral network, and can offer their patients a wider range of treatments, tests, and procedures that might not be available through larger healthcare systems. Both doctors and patients also have more privacy.
Additionally, independent doctors also have more freedom to provide their patients with information about alternative therapies, lifestyle changes, and other health-related issues that may not be supported by larger healthcare organizations.
Independent doctors have more control over their practice and decision-making, which can provide an added sense of trust and transparency for patients. This can help to build stronger relationships between the doctor and patient, leading to better communication and overall health outcomes.
This is one intrinsic advantage that Direct Primary Care (DPC) practices have over traditional primary care providers who are dependent on large insurance companies and managed care organizations.
Since DPC patients don’t use traditional insurance to pay for primary care, DPC doctors have much less bureaucratic or outside scrutiny or influence to pressure them about their treatment recommendations.
Independent doctors are typically more flexible than doctors who work in large hospitals or healthcare systems. They have more control over their schedules, which allows them to spend more time with their patients.
This is especially true with Direct Primary Care doctors: because they have much less overhead, they have much lower patient loads. They can therefore spend much more time with each patient. This can lead to more personalized care and a better overall patient experience. [Source: Verywell Health]
Independent doctors are not bound by the policies and procedures of larger healthcare systems. They have more freedom to customize treatment plans and provide a wider range of services to their patients. This can be particularly beneficial for patients with complex medical conditions who require specialized care. [Source: Forbes]
Improved Health Outcomes
Using an independent doctor can also lead to better health outcomes. Independent doctors typically have more time to spend with their patients, which allows them to build stronger relationships and gain a better understanding of their patients’ needs. This can lead to more effective treatments and better long-term health outcomes. A 2014 article showed that patients of small practice physicians are less likely to have a preventable hospital readmission.
One of the main advantages of using an independent doctor is the potential for cost savings. Independent doctors have lower overhead costs than hospitals and clinics, which means they may be able to charge lower fees for their services. In some cases, patients may also be able to save money on procedures and tests that are not covered by insurance, as independent doctors may have more flexibility to negotiate prices with labs and other providers.
Compare Pricing on the Best Healthshare Plans Available
Direct Primary Care: Experience the Independent Doctor Advantage
In recent years, tens of thousands of patients have migrated to direct primary care practices from traditional fee-for-service providers for a variety of reasons.
As yet, the DPC industry is dominated by independent practitioners and small partnership practices with just a few providers. Once they make the switch, very few patients willingly go back. The independent doctors in the direct primary care model consistently deliver a superior healthcare experience compared to the large provider networks – at lower costs. This is especially true for people and families.
Direct primary care (DPC) has several advantages over fee-for-service and insurance-based models of healthcare. Some of these advantages include:
- Lower healthcare costs. One of the main advantages of DPC is its potential to lower healthcare costs for patients. According to a study published in the American Journal of Managed Care, DPC practices have been shown to reduce healthcare costs by up to 40% compared to traditional fee-for-service practices.
- More time with the doctor. DPC doctors typically have fewer patients than traditional fee-for-service doctors, which means they can spend more time with each patient. This allows for more personalized care and better health outcomes. According to a survey of DPC patients conducted by the Direct Primary Care Coalition, 94% of patients reported being able to spend more time with their doctor in a DPC model.
- Improved access to care. DPC doctors are typically more accessible to their patients than traditional fee-for-service doctors. According to the same survey by the Direct Primary Care Coalition, 91% of patients reported being able to reach their DPC doctor easily, and 86% reported being able to get an appointment with their DPC doctor on the same or next day.
- No insurance needed. DPC eliminates the need for insurance for primary care, which can be a significant cost savings for patients. According to a survey of DPC practices by the National Association of Community Health Centers, 66% of DPC patients do not have any form of health insurance.
- Better health outcomes. DPC has been associated with better health outcomes, including lower hospitalization rates and fewer emergency department visits. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, patients in a DPC practice had 35% fewer hospitalizations and 65% fewer emergency department visits compared to patients in a fee-for-service practice.
Healthsharing Plans Allow Greater Access to Independent Doctors
In today’s market, traditional individual health insurance plans are dominated by managed care organizations: HMOs, PPOs, and exclusive provider organizations (PPOs) that restrict your access to out-of-network doctors for non-emergency care.
Where possible, they route patients to captive healthcare providers who are employees of or who are financially reliant on a large healthcare system.
Healthsharing plans, in contrast, typically have no such restrictions, even for most non-emergency care. You are free to see any doctor you wish, and you can use your healthsharing benefits with them.
With healthsharing, you’re free to choose an independent physician. You aren’t restricted to anyone else’s hand-picked network of discounted providers.
Meanwhile, healthsharing plans provide this freedom usually at a fraction of the cost of an unsubsidized traditional health insurance plan.
Disadvantages of Using a Private Doctor
Despite the many advantages of using an independent doctor, there are some potential disadvantages. One of the main drawbacks is that they may not have access to the same in-house resources and technology as doctors employed by larger healthcare systems. This could limit their ability to provide certain types of care or to perform certain procedures.
Additionally, independent doctors may be ‘out-of-network’ for many insurance plans. Also, some patients may need to be transferred to a larger hospital or healthcare system for treatment if they require hospitalization.
Finally, if a patient has complex medical needs, or has limited capacity to handle his or her own medical affairs, communication and care coordination between different medical professionals and departments can be easier within a single managed care organization.
Overall, there are many advantages to using an independent doctor for medical care in the United States.
Patients who are looking for high-quality healthcare that is tailored to their needs should consider using an independent doctor for their medical care. However, patients should also weigh the potential drawbacks and ensure that they have access to the necessary resources and insurance coverage before making their choice.
Frequently Asked Questions About Independent Doctors and Physicians
How do independent doctors compare to traditional primary care physicians?
Independent doctors and traditional primary care physicians differ in several ways. Independent doctors typically have more control over their schedules and may offer more personalized care, while traditional primary care physicians are often part of larger healthcare organizations and may have more resources available to them. Additionally, independent doctors may be more affordable if you’re uninsured or if you have a high deductible and/or coinsurance.
How do healthsharing plans work with independent doctors?
Healthsharing plans can be an excellent choice for people who prefer to see independent physicians. Healthsharing plans often allow much more flexibility when it comes to choosing your own healthcare providers. Some healthsharing plans even require you to use independent doctors, rather than use large healthcare systems to keep costs down.
Healthsharing plans, which are often used as an alternative to traditional health insurance, can work well with independent doctors. These plans allow members to pool their resources to cover healthcare costs, and often have more flexibility in choosing healthcare providers. Some healthsharing plans even require members to use independent doctors to keep costs down.
How does direct primary care work with independent doctors?
Direct primary care practices are overwhelmingly owned and operated by independent doctors. Patients who use direct primary care with an independent doctor may receive more personalized attention and may have more access to their doctor outside of traditional office hours.
Independent DPC doctors may also have more freedom to provide frank medical advice without the undue influence of a large healthcare employer.
Are independent doctors more affordable than traditional doctors?
Independent doctors may be more affordable than traditional doctors, particularly for patients who are uninsured or who have high deductible health plans. This is because independent doctors often have lower overhead costs and may not need to charge as much for their services.
However, you should be aware that your health insurance network may not include your ind, which can result in higher out-of-pocket costs.
Can I use my health savings account (HSA) to pay for independent doctor services?
Yes, you can use your health savings account (HSA) to pay for independent doctor services. This is because independent doctors are considered qualified medical expenses under IRS regulations. Patients should keep in mind that HSAs are only available to those with high deductible health plans.
How do I find a qualified independent doctor in my area?
You can find an independent doctor via the Association of Independent Doctors online directory.
It’s important to research potential doctors carefully and to verify their credentials and experience before making an appointment.
What types of medical services can I receive from an independent doctor?
You can receive a wide range of medical services from independent doctors, including preventative care, acute illness treatment, and chronic disease management. Some independent doctors may also offer specialty services, such as mental health counseling or nutrition counseling.
For Further Reading
- National Institute for Biotechnology Information: The Paradox of Size – How Small, Independent Practices Can Thrive in Value-Based Care
Whitney Kline is a Personal Benefits Manager (PBM) for HSA for America. As a PBM, she helps individuals and small businesses find money-saving alternatives to traditional health insurance – including HSA plans, health sharing programs, DPC memberships, and other innovative solutions.